Butane refillers threatened with closure

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Thursday, July 31, 2014


THE Davao City Business Bureau warned business establishment owners, regardless of its capital, to stop selling butane canisters refilled with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or face revocation of business permit or closure of establishment.

Business Bureau officer-in-charge lawyer Lawrence D. Batinding said the city added teeth to its policy against refilled butane due to rampant unsafe practices on the use and sell of butane canisters as containers for household LPG.

Batinding met with market officers and barangay captains on Thursday to help them disseminate information about the negative effects of butane.

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"Butanes mini-LPG cylinders that are made of stainless steel plates are now available in sari-sari stores. We have learned that sari-sari store vendors purchase these prohibited products from the markets. It is very rampant there," he said in an interview.

The Department of Energy (DOE) Circular was passed in January this year making it illegal to refill LPG into butane cans and raising fines for retail and distribution from P1,000-P3,000 into P50,000-P60,000.

In Davao City, Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, by virtue of Executive Order No. 23 dated May 9, formed a multi-agency task force that will regulate and monitor safe practices of companies and individuals who engage in business involving flammable and dangerous chemicals, including butane.

Batinding said the Business Bureau has given the authority to confiscate butane products being sold in markets.

"Ipinagbabawal talaga yan, for the protection ng gagamit kasi nag cau-cause ito ng sunog," he said.

Butanes are designed for one-time use only, he said.

These are used for table-top stoves and camping stoves.

But, butane has become a very common commodity today available even in neighborhood sari-sari stores as prices of LPG in big tanks have made these prohibitive to those who can only afford their supplies for the day.

Batinding said LPG-filled butane canisters may explode and may result to loss of life and property.

DTI-Bureau of Product Standards director Lawyer Pedro Vicente C. Mendoza earlier said butane canisters are made of tin and these are not refillable.

He said canisters may be filled with products that should be properly identified to comply with Article 77 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines (Republic Act 7394).

Thus, if the canisters contain butane, they should be properly labeled as containing butane.

DTI's basis of not allowing butane canisters to be refilled with LPG is that it violates the said provision of the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

Former DTI-Davao regional director Marizon S. Loreto earlier said some consumers may have opted to have their butane canisters refilled rather than buying a new one because of price difference.

A new butane canister costs more or less P60 while refilling it only costs P25.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 01, 2014.

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